Science for Change projects in Visayas get P398M: DOST

DOST-NRCP Director Marietta Sumagaysay, DOST Region VII Assistant Regional Director Marilyn Radam, Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, and DOST Region VI Regional Director Rowen Gelonga light the torch signifying the opening of the Science for Change Program (S4CP) Summit in Bacolod City on Thursday, May 5*.

The Department of Science and Technology has provided P398.48 million for agricultural, pharmaceutical and herbal supplement manufacturing, and for regional science communities in the Visayas, including in Negros Occidental, through its Science for Change Program (S4CP).

This was revealed during the S4CP kickoff event dubbed “Science for Change is Science for the People” at the Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod City on Thursday, May 5.

The summit highlighted positive changes brought about by the S4CP-funded projects in terms of regional development and industrial competitiveness from the lens of the researchers, beneficiaries, and stakeholders.

The event featured 10 programs/projects in the Visayas Cluster, including those of Herbanext Laboratories Inc. based in Bago City, Negros Occidental, a manufacturer of botanical ingredients, nutraceuticals, functional food products, herbal drugs and herbal cosmetics and is engaged in the organic cultivation and processing of medicinal herbs.

The company received an interest free loan worth P11.7 million to acquire premier art extraction equipment and modern pilot scale machinery that allow increase in potency and therapeutic quality and reduce issues on shelf stability and microbial load, a problem common in manufacturing herbal products.

“Herbanext is more empowered to do more research and more confident in the quality and safety of our herbal products. In the not so distant future, we look forward to the export of world class Filipino herbal medicine,” Philip Cruz, Herbanext Laboratories Inc. president, said.

“We have come a long way in our efforts to ensure change through accelerating research and development in the country. With S4CP research and development (R&D) transforms communities through the projects that our various stakeholders are undertaking,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said.

“Now that we have set the foundation of the Science for Change Program, let us sustain its traction and encourage more R&D participation from the various sectors, more importantly from the industry,” DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho A. Mabborang said.

“Regional support is the key to national development. If we improve and empower our stakeholders in the regions, progress on a national scale follows,” Undersecretary for Research and Development, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, said.

The S4C Program opened the opportunities to research institutions and industries to invest in R&D to improve their processes, operations, and profits, she said. With these R&D investments, Visayas sees industry revitalization and progress in aquaculture, pharmaceuticals, herbal supplement manufacturing, and other collaborative research and partnerships, Guevarra added.

“We will continue capitalizing in R&D,” said Guevarra, who stressed the need for the S4CP Bill to pass into law.

The bill intends to support R&D initiatives that address the needs of the people. With the extensive collaboration and efforts, DOST hopes to continue delivering S4CP-funded projects all over the regions and support from stakeholders will ensure lasting change happens, Guevarra said.*

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